Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Getting Ready for the Astor Duplex Debut

No doubt all the New York City real estate gossips will be staying awake day and night for the next week or so on a disastrous diet of Provigil and pepperoni pizza waiting to pounce on the pictures and floor plans of the legendary and soon to be listed duplex of deceased high society doyenne Brooke Astor.

After interviewing five of the Big Apple's top property pushers, Miz Astor's much maligned and not always well spoken of son Anthony Marshall and his wifey Charlene have selected a gal named Leighton Candler to list the 14-room co-op at swish 778 Park Avenue with a rumored and reported $46,000,000 asking price. That may sound like a lot of money to some of the children, but Your Mama would not be the least bit surprised if this highly desired and much anticipated apartment sells quickly and with multiple offers. The real estate market may be gimping and tumbling in some parts of the U-nited States of America, but not at the very high end of Manhattan's real estate whirligig where massive amounts of moolah change hands as frequently as people passed LSD laced doobies at Woodstock.

If anyone were to ask Your Mama, which of course no one did, the well bred blond Miz Candler–of the Coca Cola Candlers, of course–is an excellent choice to represent the dignified duplex. Not only does the ladee weave through the vicious world of Upper East Side real estate with grace and great aplomb, she also works some of the finest addresses in Manhattan having sold lavish spreads at atrociously expensive 740 Park Avenue as well as high priced 1040 Fifth Avenue where she recently sold hedge hog Scott Bommer's full floor digs as well as Jackie-O's former pad.

Along with the celebrated and oft photographed red lacquered library, the Astor duplex sprawls across part of the 15th floor and the entire 16th floor of the Rosario Candela designed apartment house and features 4 bedrooms (all en suite, natch), 5 fireplaces and an electrifying six terraces. The New York Post quotes a broker who has been in the apartment as saying, "The apartment is in very good original condition." Which means, of course, that it's well taken care of but terribly dated and the new owner will likely replace every sink, terlit and kitchen appliance in a major renovation.

Your Mama is simply too old to survive for more than a day or two without sleep, but we'll certainly try to bring the children the duplex's delicious bizness as soon after it hits the open market as we can. In the meantime delight in a few pix that New York Magazine has put out there of the Albert Hadley designed interiors for all the children to drool and ogle over.

photo: City Realty

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

NYMAG have a few pictures -

http://nymag.com/realestate/vu/2008/04/45966/

Your Mama said...

Thanks darlin', we missed that article in our scurrying.

Bigdaddyj said...

Personally, I have no interest in NYC co-ops, as I find their elitism, snobbery, and outright prejudice offensive...as the old saying goes, why would I want to be a member of a club that doesn't want to have me? I would much rather buy a condo or a single-family home where the power of my pocketbook controls my ability to purchase a resident, and not the opinions of a bunch of aging fossils who think their shit doesn't stink...and frankly, a lot of these buildings suck from a mechanical/engineering perspective (hell, who wants to pay thousands of dollars per square foot for a moldy, drafty old place that in the summer probably doesn't even have central air?) IMO, you have to be a pretty shallow social-climber type to even want to live in one of these buildings, you ask me, nowadays living in an old-school co-op is a scarlet letter on your soul...;-)

aunt mary said...

bigdaddyj, you are so right about all the social pathology, etc, but I am waiting breathlessly for floor plans.

bentley said...

bigdaddyj -

I see where you're coming from, and as far as I'm concerned you're preaching to the choir about the elitism and self-righteousness of the New York co-op phenomenon.

However, these apartments are, in essence, works of art. I urge you to look past the occupant to the splendor of these homes. Rosario Candela imbued his buildings with a sense of balance and elegance hard to match, and virtually impossible to come by nowadays.

Candela's philosophy was that one should get a sense of even the most sprawling apartment from the moment you entered the gallery: a view into all the reception rooms, while ensuring the private wing of the home remained decidedly out of bounds. Everything from window to light switch placement was meticulously thought out to evoke this balance.

The movement from single family dwelling to apartment was incredibly significant in New York City, and these elegant, vast homes are the legacy of a by-gone era.

If we give lip service to those piece of shit faux-mediterranean monstrosities in LA with miles of soaring drywall, gaudy everything and zero taste and elegance, I can't WAIT o hear what people have to say about Ms. Astor's apartment.

She was a wonderful lady, and I use the term "lady" in all its finest manifestations. Her apartment will not let you down, I assure you.

Alessandra said...

Yes, even dealing with the dreaded and ridiculous co-op board would be worth it to buy Mrs. Astor's apartment.

If only Candela's philosophies were closely followed these days, we wouldn't have to drool over these older buildings. But, alas, new construction seems to be rabidly unwelcoming to its inhabitants and thus we find ourselves sucking up to people whom we dislike just to taste a bite of real estate glory.

so_chic_darling said...

My favorite Brooke Astor story is when she was overseeing,and paying for,the restoration of a row of historic town houses in Harlem built by her ancestors.This was back in the 1980s when Harlem was not a safe as it is now.When the reporter asked her if she was nervous wearing her best diamonds in Harlem she said she wasn't and that this is how people expected to see her in any part of town.
The y don't make them like her any more.

Anonymous said...

Now this is more like it! Don't blame these magnificent residences for the creeps who can afford to buy and broker them. Just enjoy Mama's feast.......res ipsa loquitur!

Anonymous said...

Geez B.Dj! Stereotype much?

Not all Co-op dwellers [there are many!] are the way you describe them - most are pretty normal & just go about their everyday lives - They shouldn't be chastised because they live in a building with rules that were in place long before they ever moved in.

aunt mary said...

Off topic. You've got to love Brigitte Bardot. Go to Drudgereport and look at her photo. Still beautiful with wrinkly skin, saggy jowls and gray hair. It's all in the heart.

Bigdaddyj said...

OK, maybe not a scarlet letter on the soul of every co-op resident (LOL), I was actually aiming my criticism more at the people who sit on the boards...I agree, some of these buildings are real beauties (though I'm more of a fan of the Dakota and the big deco palaces that line CPW than the east side places), but I still think jumping through hoops to get a bunch of people who use their one last bastion of power, a silly New York City real estate law that essentially amounts to legalized descrimination, to enforce an antiquated social order that in any other part of life would be soundly criticized as anti-semetic, or racist, or homophiobic, or xenophobic, or hell, even prejudiced against people of certain professions, it just seems to me tantamount to selling your soul when you consider how much it costs to buy into these places, people that could afford could use their pocketbooks to buy elsewhere and eventually force these buildings to open up and join the rest of us here in the 21st century...

pch said...

I've always hated the descriptor exclusive because its only positive attribute (when you think about it) is that you have something someone else doesn't. Oh, it might get dressed up in terms of quality and refinement and rarity, but it's really just a schoolyard taunt of na-na-na-na-na, plain and simple. And, as evidenced by the article Mama linked to last week, a number of co-op boards seem to be peopled (at least in part) by those more concerned with establishing their own importance than with vetting a prospective buyer's financial stability and general agreeableness as a neighbor. They love to go to a dinner party and say how they turned Mariah Carey down. Or, on the flip side, that they approved someone like Anne Slater, which implies that they had it within their power to decline her application. I have a very low tolerance level for the ugly manifestations of insecurity, which is why this kind of stuff drives me crazy.

I'm a West Coast kid, but I did the East Coast prep school and Oxbridge thing. Foot in both worlds, as it were. If anything, the Old Guard types who are most pleased about being Old Guard types are the worst. They not only exhibit appalling manners, they constantly congratulate themselves for being so much more cultivated than everyone else. I've watched it close-up, and it would be funny if it weren't so mean-spirited.

There's the old story of the hostess who sees a young guest drink from his finger bowl. She doesn't point out his faux pas so everyone can laugh at him; instead, she promptly drinks from her own finger bowl so that he won't be embarrassed. It's probably apocryphal, but it nicely sums up my definition of class. And it's unfortunate that so many classless people are the gatekeepers for the swellest apartments in New York. Ain't no gettin' around human nature, I guess.

average joe said...

it will sell quick I heard there is a list of buyers ready to make bids on the place I would not be surprised if it sells for more than 46 MM

lil' gay boy said...

PCH,

Nice turn with the fingerbowls; Nana always told that one at Thanksgiving.

Despite the aging mechanicals that may be in place, we're talking about a piece of history here - a Candela building - and, of course Brooke.

The last of the big shouldered broads.

Like So_Chic said, "They don't make them like her any more." Some may say "thank God" to that, but she embodied a time a place long gone but still missed; the Morocco, 21, the Oak Room. NYC at its finest.

Anonymous said...

When i first saw the exterior, something struck me as familiar.This top floors of this buiding were used as the exterior shot of Karen Walkers apartment in "Will & Grace" (link below)- which is funny because her apartment was meant to be spectacluar... and in real life, it was Mrs Astor's. i wonder if the Will&Grace staff knew....

http://www.durfee.net/will/locs_Manse.htm

average joe said...

Damn. I already put my $13 on that place in Point Dume.

Hugh James said...

I can't wait to se the plans.
I've known of this apartment for years, it was featured in Town and Country a long time ago.
The Library is wonderful.

hjb

bentley said...

LGB, hooray!

Anonymous said...

Exclusive co-op boards serve a useful purpose for their buildings. They prevent people from buying apartments they cannot afford. You basically never hear about foreclosure in connection to NYC co-ops, while it happens in condos all the time. They can also keep out those who made their money in immoral or unlawful ways, people with litigious reputations, etc. It has been a long time since the point was keeping out Jews and other ethnic/racial groups.

A co-op is a club. As such, it has the right to select its own membership. Real country clubs throughout America are far more racist than co-op boards in NYC, but one does not hear about that.